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Information Security

Protecting Against Malware Concealed in PNG Images

In our ongoing commitment to keeping our environment safe and secure, we bring to your attention a notable cybersecurity concern. The infiltration of malware via PNG (Portable Network Graphics) images has seen a rise and warrants collective vigilance.  

The Threat: Malware Embedded within PNG Images  

Cyber adversaries have found a method to embed malicious code within PNG images. This means that, upon opening or even previewing such a corrupted image, harmful code might be executed on your device.  

Relevance to the Community  

  • Prolific Image Sharing: The academic landscape is abundant with image-sharing, from research visuals to instructional graphics.  
  • Presumption of Safety: Images, especially those in academic contexts, are often perceived as benign. This trust can be exploited by cyber threats.  

Guidelines for Protection  

  1. Utilize University IT Solutions: Our institution offers advanced antivirus and anti-malware tools tailored for our infrastructure. Ensure your devices are equipped with these protective solutions.  
  1. Exercise Caution with Emails: Remain vigilant when receiving unsolicited images or unexpected emails, even if they originate from familiar addresses. Verification can prevent unwarranted risks.  
  1. Modify Email Client Settings: It is advisable to adjust your email settings to disable the automatic loading of images. Disabling images grants you discretion over which images to display.  
  1. Maintain Software Updates: Regularly update your device’s operating system and applications. These updates often contain patches for known vulnerabilities.  
  1. Participate in Cybersecurity Awareness: We urge you to attend the cybersecurity sessions and workshops that the University periodically offers. Informed users are less vulnerable.  
  1. Promptly Report Suspicious Activities: Should you encounter an unusual email, image, or file, please report it to OIT. It is always better to be safe than sorry. 


The threat of malware within PNG images underscores the ever-evolving nature of cybersecurity challenges. We trust in our community to remain informed and exercise caution, ensuring that our collective digital environment remains protected.